Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 21 September 2011 – The Masdar Institute of Science and Technology has shelved plans for the world’s first building that would make more energy than it consumed, a year after the financial crisis had forced the company to step back from setting up the first carbon-neutral city.

The state-owned company said it was evaluating a different design for its headquarters than the one selected in 2008 from Chicago-based Adrian Smith & Gordon Gill Architecture for a 100,000sq m structure equipped with enough solar panels to cover four soccer fields.

The headquarters, planned in the capital city, “will now be built in phases, in line with market demand and economic conditions at the time,” Masdar said in an e- mailed response to questions. Officials declined to say whether the revised design would still allow for the headquarters to generate more power than it used.

Masdar, promoter of the Middle East’s most ambitious plan to develop renewable energy, accepted its latest setback after the financial crisis had curbed Abu Dhabi’s ambitions for its US$22 billion government-funded venture. Set up in 2006, it was to build Masdar City, a carbon-neutral town in which students and companies pursued renewable energy projects.

Last year, Masdar reviewed its plans and said in October that it was scaling back the zero-carbon ambition. It delayed the city’s first phase by two years to 2015.

“The new Masdar headquarters, which was to have formed the centerpiece of Masdar City, will conform to the sustainable construction practices implemented across the city,” the company said.